How to Recover from a Knee Bone Bruise Caused by Running

Runner touching painful knee. Athlete runner training accident.
Take care of your bruised knee. (Image: twinsterphoto/iStock/Getty Images)

The knee joint is not immune to sprains, strains and other running-induced injuries. If you have a knee bone bruise following a run, it could signify a problem. Training too hard, twisting motions -- like a sudden turn while running -- and improper stretching technique can all contribute to knee injuries in runners. You need to recover from that bruise before you can safely resume your run to protect your knee health.

Step 1

Stop running if you notice a bruise. Cool down with a brisk walk home or a five-minute walk on the treadmill. Running when you are in pain is not recommended -- the bruise signifies an injury that can get worse with continued activity.

Step 2

Elevate the knee on a soft chair or ottoman, applying a soft pillow directly under the knee to prevent hyperextension and provide cushion. Try to keep the knee at or above the level of your heart to reduce any swelling.

Step 3

Apply a lightweight towel or cloth over the knee. Get a bag of crushed ice, frozen peas or an ice pack and apply it to the bruised knee for 20 minutes. You can repeat using ice up to eight times a day as needed.

Step 4

Apply an elastic compression wrap if the knee is swelling along with the bruise. Start beneath the knee and wrap upwards in a diagonal motion. The wrap should feel supportive and snug, but not tight. Watch your toes and lower extremity for sensation, color or temperature changes that could mean the wrap is too tight.

Step 5

Take two to three days off from your running regimen. A bruised kneecap can indicate a simple strain, excessive strike-force on hard pavement while running or a torn ligament -- all of which need rest to heal.

Step 6

Resume your run, but pay attention to the bruised knee. Stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings thoroughly before and after each run, and make sure to land on the balls of your feet.

Step 7

Start strengthening exercises for your quadriceps, which are the large thigh muscles that attach to your knee joint. Stand with your back against a flat wall and set your feet hip-width apart 6 to 8 inches in front of you. Pretend that you are going to sit down in a firm chair, and drop your buttocks towards the floor into a seated position. Hold the position for 10 seconds, and then return to a standing position. Repeat 10 times or as tolerated daily.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice pack

  • Elastic compression wrap

Tip

Running on hard surfaces can increase the incidence of knee injuries.

Warning

Contact your doctor if the pain or swelling does not resolve within a week.

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